Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Action Alert: SB 551 Medicaid block grants

Family Voices Indiana shares the following information with its members and encourages you to contact your legislator. We will be providing testimony at tomorrow's hearing and your support would strengthen our position.

From Cover Indiana:
On Wednesday, the House Public Health Committee will take testimony and possibly vote on Senate Bill 551, which has already passed out of the Senate and is now pending in the House.  This bill would change the way the state gets its Medicaid funding (it would become a "block grant") and would set up a number of other conditions -- that might or might not be approved by the federal government -- before hundreds of thousands of hard-working, low-income individuals and families could gain access to health care coverage.

Chair: Rep. Edward Clere (h72)
Vice Chair: Rep. Steven Davisson (h73)
Members:  Reps. Bacon (h75), Behning (h91), Crouch (h78), Frizzell (h93), Lehe (h25), Turner (h32), Zent (h51), C. Brown (h3), Bauer (h6), Porter (h96), Shackleford (h98).
 
To send the Committee members an email, use their district number @in.gov.  For instance, Chairman Clere's email would be h72@in.gov.  
  
If any of these legislators represent your district,
it is even more important that they hear from you.

from Complex Child:
One suggestion for reforming Medicaid is to convert the program to state-based block 
grants. In this system, the federal government would determine each state’s general 
financial need based on population and other factors, and would award the state a lump 
sum in Medicaid funding. This lump sum could then be spent however a state wanted, 
intentionally free from most federal rules and regulations. When the federal lump sum 
has been exhausted, the state cannot receive any further federal funds.

Under a block grant system, Medicaid waivers would be eliminated entirely. The federal 
government would no longer determine who is eligible for or entitled to Medicaid 
services. Instead, states could determine which children they want to serve, and what 5
services they would provide them. Based on the fact that cash-strapped states including 
Florida, Illinois, and California have already tried to eliminate or drastically reduce 
services, it is very likely that these small waiver programs would be cut or eliminated in 
many states. Hundreds of children currently able to live at home with services and 
supports could be forced into institutions.

One of the most important protections in the current Medicaid program is a little known 
program called Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT). You can 
think of this program as the “package” of services provided to every child who receives 
financially-based Medicaid or a Medicaid waiver. It is the greatest protection for 
children in Medicaid, and the provision that mandates that children receive critical 
services, including therapies, home nursing, coverage for supplies and equipment, and 
other necessary services.

A block grant system would make EPSDT null and void, unless political leaders chose to 
leave certain protections in place, which is unlikely. Without the guarantee of EPSDT, 
states could determine which services they do and do not cover. For example, many 
states have refused to provide diapers and other incontinence products through Medicaid, 
but were forced to do so because of EPSDT. Other states have tried to eliminate or 
reduce home nursing care services or prescription drugs, but have thus far failed because 
of EPSDT.

The entire article from Complex Child is embedded below. 

If you would like guidance on how to contact your legislators, feel free to contact us. 317 944 8982 info@fvindiana.org

Your voice matters!

Block Grants by Family Voices Indiana

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